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Gazebo runs extremely slow when connected to the internet

I'm relatively new to Gazebo and have been experiencing some performance issues when running Gazebo while connected to the internet. I'm running Gazebo 7 on Ubuntu 17.04 inside VMware Workstation 12 Pro, and every time I start the application it runs fine for about 10-16 seconds and then freezes for half a minute or so, followed by the real time factor dropping to around 0 before recovering slightly but performance afterwards is terrible and Gazebo freezes often. When I disconnect from the internet, however, I get no performance issues whatsoever. I believe it is something to do with connecting to the online model database but it's annoying to have to disconnect from the internet every time I run the simulation just to have usable performance. Is anyone else experiencing similar issues?

My specs: i7 6700 HQ, 16GB RAM, nVidia GTX 1060

(FYI, to get gazebo to run in VMware I've had to use OpenGL 2.1 using export SVGA_VGPU10=0)